Author: Sophie Hannah
Publication: William Morrow, hardcover, 2018
“We Agatha Christie fans read her stories--and particularly her Poirot novels--because the mysteries are invariably equal parts charming and ingenious, dark and quirky and utterly engaging. Sophie Hannah had a massive challenge in reviving the beloved Poirot, and she met it with heart and no small amount of little grey cells. I was thrilled to see the Belgian detective in such very, very good hands. Reading The Monogram Murders was like returning to a favorite room of a long-lost home.”
— Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
Hercule Poirot returns home after an agreeable luncheon to find an angry woman waiting to berate him outside his front door. Her name is Sylvia Rule, and she demands to know why Poirot has accused her of the murder of Barnabas Pandy, a man she has neither heard of nor ever met. She is furious to be so accused, and deeply shocked. Poirot is equally shocked, because he too has never heard of any Barnabas Pandy, and he certainly did not send the letter in question. He cannot convince Sylvia Rule of his innocence, however, and she marches away in a rage.
Shaken, Poirot goes inside, only to find that he has a visitor waiting for him — a man called John McCrodden who also claims also to have received a letter from Poirot that morning, accusing him of the murder of Barnabas Pandy...
Poirot wonders how many more letters of this sort have been sent in his name. Who sent them, and why? More importantly, who is Barnabas Pandy, is he dead, and, if so, was he murdered? And can Poirot find out the answers without putting more lives in danger?
Audience: Fans of Agatha Christie, of the traditional English mystery, the Golden Age of Detective Fiction
Purchase Links: Barnes & Noble * Amazon * IndieBound * HarperCollins
|I prefer the UK cover, don't you?|
While Miss Marple was known for solving crimes by using her knowledge of human nature, Monsieur Poirot is skilled at unravelling puzzles and he does not fail us here. Hannah creates a large number of plausible villains and Poirot, a show-off who always delivers, uses a multi-colored cake (the quarters referred to in the title) to identify the killer in this convoluted story. He is then able to summon all the characters together for one of those famous dramatic conclusions where he explains to everyone how he solved the case.
I read The Monogram Murders, the first continuation written by Hannah, three years ago and enjoyed it. This is also an entertaining read which Christie fans will enjoy. I was always a Christie fan but have not reread any Poirot titles recently: the one thing I felt was lacking in Hannah’s version was humor. Maybe I am wrong but I recall more of an amused tone in Christie’s work (some of the funniest books are her standalones like The Man in the Brown Suit – perhaps my favorite – and The Seven Dials Mystery). In addition, I found Detective Catchpole’s first person narrative disrupted the flow of the story and I would have preferred that his sections were written in the third person. Two spoilers below:
Source: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and TLC Book Tours for review purposes. You can visit other stops on the tour and read the reviews by clicking below:
First, John McCrodden is portrayed as unclean and unattractive so I am unconvinced anyone fastidious and obsessed with appearance would have had an affair with him. Second, there was no good reason for the letter Timothy Lavington received saying that his father was not dead – except that it was helpful for the typewriter aspect of the plot. I wish Hannah had done something to make these elements fit her plot better.